Many of us have experienced massive losses due to this pandemic. Some have lost jobs and main sources of income, while others have even lost loved ones. We also have had to keep our distance from our loved ones to keep each other safe. There’s so much grief in the world, and we can’t even hug.
It’s no surprise that the pandemic continues to leave lasting psychological damage for many. Those who work in the medical field and those with underlying health conditions are particularly vulnerable to mental health dips, not to mention those who are already struggling with clinical depression and anxiety.
We may not control everything that happens in the world, but there are things we can do to keep our minds and spirits healthy. Here are tips to help combat fear, worry, and anxiety in the time of COVID-19.
There are countless benefits to starting your day with meditation. Numerous studies have suggested that meditation has various mental health benefits—most notably, easing stress.
It’s easy to fall into the habit of reaching for your phone and going through your feed first thing in the morning. But if we want to start our day right, we need to center our minds and our bodies before we do anything else.
Here is a simple step-by-step guide to meditating:
- Quiet your mind. Find a comfortable place to sit still for a few minutes.
- Focus on your breath. Pay attention to how you inhale and exhale.
- Follow your breath for a few minutes by taking a deep inhale and then exhaling slowly.
Take note of how meditating made you feel. After doing this for a few days, start incorporating a meditation mantra to assure your spirit and end your meditation session with kindness. Some classic examples include, “I am that I am” and “I am a peaceful soul,” but to make it more personal, you can choose words that mean more to you like joy, peace, love, faith, or harmony.
Find joy in hobbies.
There is nothing more soothing than finding unexpected joys in little things. Studies show that people with hobbies are less likely to suffer from low mood, stress, and depression.
Here are some hobbies for boosting one’s mood:
- Playing an instrument
- Taking care of plants or being a plant mom
- Cooking or baking
- Painting and drawing
- Arts and crafts
- Learning a new language
Be properly informed.
It’s important to stay informed, but we need to do so in a way that is healthy for us. It’s hard to escape harsh realities when we’re bombarded with headlines everywhere we look, but we need to guard against checking our phones every five minutes as it can be detrimental to our mental health and well-being.
Limit your news intake or mute certain words from your Twitter feed if you must. Schedule a time during the week to check if there are new safety guidelines by reputable organizations like the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If a headline comes from a suspicious source, fact-check using more trustworthy news sources.
Exercise safety when going out.
One thing that will help keep anxiety at bay is knowing you’re doing all that you can to protect yourself against the virus. Stay home if you don’t have to, but for more essential outings, like going to the groceries or the doctor, practice proper social distancing, wear your mask, and sanitize your hands.
If you must have your health checked, go to smaller clinics that offer privacy and exclusivity. Some clinics provide private MRI scanning, rapid COVID-19 testing, eye checkups, dental checks, and other tests. Set an appointment before going to avoid running into crowds.
Reach out to friends and family.
We may be forced to keep our distance from our loved ones, but it doesn’t mean we have to cut off all contact. Make use of technology by scheduling video calls with your parents, siblings, and friends. Ask them how they’re doing and be honest about how you are as well. We need to stay connected with our loved ones as they can provide support and comfort during difficult times.
Seek professional help.
There is no shame in seeking professional help, especially when you feel you have done all that you can but still find yourself depressed and anxious. Look up online counseling services, and don’t be afraid to allow yourself to be vulnerable—being honest about how we’re doing is the first step towards healing.
We need to do all that we can to preserve our mental health during this time. Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.